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Chapter 7: Sustainable Transborder Business Cooperation in the European Regions: The Importance of Social Entrepreneurship
7 Sustainable transborder business cooperation in the European regions: the importance of social entrepreneurship Raymond Saner and Lichia Yiu 1 1.1 INTRODUCTION Importance of Sustainable Transborder Cooperation for European Integration Studying regions requires an interdisciplinary approach consisting of, among other things, microeconomics (competitive firm behaviour, local labour markets), spatial economics (rural and urban planning and architecture), policy analysis (regulatory function of government), urban geography (migration patterns), institutional sociology (administrative culture), social psychology (social cohesion) and cultural anthropology (comparative religion and values). Regional economics, the precursor of today’s spatial economics or economic geography, goes back to the nineteenth century with major contributions from continental European theorists such as Thünen, Weber, Christaller and Lösch (Arnott, 1996). Some of their studies focused on the causes for variance in regional development in the newly unified Germany at the time of the creation of the German Zollverein (customs union). The main impact of the Zollverein was the creation of new market boundaries offering economies of scale, which previously did not exist in the earlier era of multiple German kingdoms and city-states. Some of the German regions thrived with the creation of a larger internal market; others stagnated or decreased in importance. The cause for growth and decline of these German regions was one of the research interests of the above-cited continental European spatial economists. In a similar way, a growing number of today’s researchers in the field of regional development focus on the impact of enlarged market boundaries, this time, however, not within...
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